By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja
The Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC) Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has called on Nigerian Workers and the general public to adopt clean and safe hygiene measures in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Chairman who made these advocacy while briefing newsmen on the preventive measures adopted by the Union said worker-based strategy which is necessary given that workers are at frontline risk given their exposure at points of entry or departure, or hospitals or any other place of interest.
He said In the face of Covid-19, workers are also exposed to secondary risks such as threats of loss of jobs or actual job losses. Adding that worker-based response was also essential given that in times of national or international emergencies, sectoral or organizational responses are usually helpful in minimising impact and finding sustainable solutions.
Comrade Wabba noted that the Congress has decided to issue this as an advisory to workers, governments and private employers of labour, both formal and informal, across the country.
The advisory according to him, focused on creating awareness of the workplace issues on Covid-19, fashioning a support base, designing negotiation strategy that safeguards workers, as well as ensuring that our workplaces are healthy and safe.
Wabba said in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone is at risk especially the elderly ones or people with already compromised health conditions.
“In light of this, Congress adopts and recommends the hygiene measures by WHO, and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
“We encourage workers to wash their hands frequently with soap under a running water source for at least twenty seconds.
“We should also desist from putting our fingers in our nostrils or wiping our eyes or mouths with bare hands. Workers should maintain reasonable person to person distancing at work. For now, we should avoid handshakes or hug”. He said.
He advised Nigerian workers to report any suspected case of Coronavirus to the nearest clinic.
“It should, however, be noted that a confirmed case is not a death sentence given the recovery record in the country.
“Employers are duty-bound to provide facilities for dispensing running water as well as hand sanitisers at work places within the reach of workers.
“Employers should also maintain well-ventilated and routinely sanitized work spaces as well as take other measures for preventing and containing the spread of Covid-19.
“They should also put in place processes and mechanisms for continual worker education on the virus”.
He explained that with about four confirmed cases in Nigeria, there is strong probability that many mores cases may be discovered soon which might lead to large scale services withdrawal.
The actions of government according to the chairman would be critical in containing Covid-19. urging government at all levels to strengthen emergency response mechanisms.
“Persons arriving Nigeria from countries with up to 1000 Covid-19 cases should be quarantined in suitable healthcare facilities.
“The advice to self-quarantine is counter-productive given the socio-economic realities in Nigeria.
“Contact tracing of positive cases should be stepped up. Health givers should be resourced with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), face masks, gloves and hand sanitisers”. He said.
The Chairman admonished for timely dissemination of relevant information which to him was critical in the war against Covid-19.
Promising that the NLC was ready to work with employers and governments to ensure that workers get the needed support, and employers a fair deal in these trying times.